Shipboot, a new S&P online platform for commercial ships, workboats, floating machinery and port equipment, launched last month and is already reporting significant traction.
The owner and cofounder of Shipboot, Hugo Sassen’s background is as a business development manager for Dutch bunkering company VT Group. Sassen got the first investment for Shipboot from his shipowner employer to build the platform.
As a manager at VT Group, Sassen was always surprised about the way ship sales and purchase were practiced and there was, according to him, no appropriate market place that offers quality commercial ships, workboats and machinery, whereas at the same time, broker market places are popping up in real estate, luxury goods and other high value asset-related industries.
“I wanted to disrupt the way in which ship sale and purchase was practiced by inviting brokers on my market place where they can offer ships where they are first or exclusive brokers. I thought that this way you can guarantee quality listings that could eventually attract interested shipowners,” Sassen says.
According to Sassen, Shipboot only allows first or exclusive brokers, which terminates the problem of middlemen stealing content. The website has quick search tools which allow for a direct contact with the broker without the site interfering in the communication or requesting brokerage fees. Sassen says the solution saves an enormous amount of time because brokers have little time to maintain their own website even.
The website went live with 100 vessels, and has so far collected 420 vessels among nine shipbrokers and counting within its first month of operations.
“The shipping industry could use all tools necessary to increase the circulation of vessels among shipowners especially in a time of ship overcapacity. But at the same time you have to respect the fact that shipowners and also brokers appreciate a certain amount of privacy and no circulation. Therefore our platform fully complies with the requirements of the customers and we develop all adverts as requested, public or private,” Sassen says.
Shipboot will also offer the opportunity for owners to calculate the amount of finance they would need for a ship.
Sassen has the ambition to reach 15,000 ships of all varieties before the end of the year.
“As digital technologies are picking up and even blockchain technology endangers the very existence of the shipbroker there is a need for a broker market place offering these ships,” Sassen maintains.